"I told you she was mad."
Laughter ensued, bouncing off the porcelain walls and echoing down the b-grade industrial plumbing into the depths of the earth.
"She's not very self-aware, is she?" said a burly accent she recognized as her desk mate with a voice deeper than her small frame implied.
They all laughed. She did too, having convinced herself that she cared very little for the thoughts of others. And yet, here she was, jumpsuit down, legs spread on the cold plastic seat of the mildly clean toilets of her office block. She'd been sat on the loo for a good fifteen minutes listening to her colleagues snicker, and then guffaw, and then pity her self-indulgence for toilet selfies.
Who could blame her? She thought defiantly. The toilet lighting was the perfect overhead for a swooning, thirst-trapping snap, without the squinting pressure exerted from a fresh-air, Vitamin D or sun-burn induced selfie. Her dark skin needed the glory and she was not about to wait for anyone else to give it to her. She had felt confident about her toilet aesthetic when she first started. Careful to crop out the office block toilet brush as she held the phone high, putting her phone on silence to feign natural bodily functions and not the self-indulgent schweecraa of her old camera. It wasn't until someone from the office stumbled upon her Instagram account online and connected the pale-industry-toilet-grade-tile dots to each other. The matter was made worse by a lazy day of unbridled self-confidence where she had expertly cropped out the toilet brush, but left in the actual toilet and her bare thick thighs in her snap.
And so the giggles echoed through the third floor loo. What should have been a 3 minute piss, became a lifetime scrutiny into the edifices of self-love and self-branding. "I really ought to care less," she thought to herself. Less shattered by the office-wide discovery of her ablution free-time activities than she expected. "Some people play solitaire on the toilet, others curate their image in this great lighting," she chuckled to herself; yet still unable to bring herself to pull up her pants and face the cackle of colleagues.
Just then the door opened to familiar footsteps.
"Ladies." Someone said.
"Hi... hey... hello..." A cacophony of feminine voices replied unsynchronised. The next toilet door opened, followed by gentle creak of the white, plastic lid. The voices of mocking laughter soon disappeared with great abruptness at the sound of unashamed gas passing between clapping butt cheeks in the toilet stall. As the symphony of normal bodily functions flooded the clinical scrutiny of the female body, even by audiences of its own kind, a deafening smell wafted through the ablution facilities.
"Is she..." That same condescending burly voice began, before trailing off in shock at such lack of social decorum that expertly stated that no womanly form ought to exercise a bodily function outside of the creation of arousal for the sexualised gaze.
"She's taking a motherfucking dump!" They all laughed, surprised by how amusing and relatable it was in the context of one toilet available to a majority-women office floor.
Encouraged by this bold acceptance of bodily autonomy, Aya quickly took a snap, careful not to scrunch her nose at the impending doom wreaked from the beloved asshole of her co-conspirator. She looked down at the picture quite chuffed, it was the perfect snap - and this time she intentionally included her burgundy jumpsuit hanging at her feet, her breasts exposed by the ridiculousness of having to completely undress to use the loo.
She walked out to the shocked faces of her colleagues. Washing her hands, she felt less exposed than she had expected. Who knew that taking a shit could be so liberating - even for the backed up bowls of others!
"Aya, could you pass me some toilet paper?" the woman still in stall beckoned. She laughed, reaching for one of toilet rolls stacked on the bathroom sink before sliding it under the toilet stall of liberation.
As she left the cackle, she posted the selfie she had taken online: "Free the nipple, free the stool, free the toilet selfie #goodlight."